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The Military in Black African Politics

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This article examines the thesis that SubSaharan policy makers maximized political survival at the cost of arrested economic development. The supporting argument suggests that the nascent nation-states of SubSaharan Africa were too fragile to foster " rational" economic development, and that they also lacked an economic infrastructure for encouraging political development. Thus political participation at the cost of unmanageable public spending was pitted against either authoritarian development or military rule, both of which came at the cost of nation-building and citizenship. Participatory regimes fostered nation-building through public consumption; military regimes could resist such pressures and hence better control public indebtedness. Authoritarian regimes fostered economic development; military regimes could foster economic austerity. Freed from the tasks of nation-building and economic development, military regimes in SubSaharan Africa could foster the development of state institutions for enforcing public order and austere economic accounting.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, University of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, U.S.A.


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